The Martian

I first heard about The Martian about two years ago when a friend of mine downloaded the audiobook. He was raving about it at a party, and it sounded like the nerdiest thing ever. So of course I was intrigued! But…while I love space and science…books about it are not my strongest subject, and it sounded like this one had a LOT of math.

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And so I put it off. Every once in awhile I’d here someone mention it, but it kind of fell to the background of my TBR.

Until they announced the movie. As things usually go–whenever a book is being made into a movie, the book is an immediate hit, even if it wasn’t originally. And WOW has The Martian been a hit. EVERYONE is reading it now, and so up it went to the top of my TBR! It was even one of the books AdultBooklr read for August…so I just barely made it in.

Again, just like with Armada, I got super lucky and got this one from Blogging for Books. (Seriously guys, if you have a book blog, sign yourself up for Klout and try to get on with them. Fantastic site.) I literally jumped for joy when I saw The Martian was available, because I’ve been waiting for three months for the hold list at the library. Now it’s mine. Yay!

Almost everyone knows about this one by now, but short summary, just in case–Mark Watney gets injured in a massive dust storm on Mars, and his team, thinking he has died, leaves him when they escape to safety. When he comes to and finds himself alone, he formulates a plan to get stay alive until the next Ares mission…4 years in the future.

I was right about the math and the science. There is a LOT of math and science. But, it doesn’t really overwhelm the story, unless you are super into that sort of thing (which I am not). I just took it at face value and moved on. Instead, what moves the plot is the snark and sarcasm that Watney provides through the log-based storyline.

And guys, there is SO.MUCH.SNARK. It’s amazingly fantastic. Aside from him being obviously above my intelligence level, I would love to have a beer with this guy. I feel like we would be friends on snarkiness alone.

This is a book where a man is alone on a foreign planet for a year and a half and has no one to talk to but himself. But there is nothing boring about it. Andy Weir has encased so much emotion and action and hilarity into such a small, sand-encrusted space–I would never have expected it to be this good. By the end, I was so invested that I was basically screaming on the AdultBooklr chat. I was ready to throw the book at the wall. I promise, you will be so invested in this by the last 10 pages, that you will completely understand what I mean.

Two random, funny thoughts that I had before I go:

  1. I couldn’t stop reading this book in Hank Green’s voice. I think I’ve listened to too many Dear Hank & John Podcasts with “News From Mars.” Every single Log was read in Hank’s unique cadence.
  2. I’d be interested to know how many terrorist watch lists Andy Weir was on while researching this book, or if he had to get special permission to do certain research. I mean, Plutonium as a heat source is a major part of the story…that isn’t something you can just google…right? I’m not going to try it to find out.

 

If you haven’t read The Martian, move it to the top of your list immediately. DO IT NOW.

 

Blogging for Books provided a copy of this book for an unbiased review.

 

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The Shore

Not too long ago, I started watching the VlogBrothers on Youtube, and it’s safe to say I am definitely becoming a Nerdfighter. I am so addicted to their vlogs. My husband says, “Those guys talk SO FAST!” But, I always learn something by watching them rant or rave over the next thing in current events or nerddom.

The other day, Hank was talking about Feelings, and one of those Feelings was when you read a book that has a hundred different stories all going in different directions and then something shifts and brings all of those plots together at the end. Hank, I love that Feeling too! It’s such a rush, isn’t it?

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The Shore by Sara Taylor is a book that tries to accomplish that Feeling. I started it after finishing Fangirl at 9 o’clock the other night, and then stayed up an extra hour and a half because I couldn’t put it down. The first quarter of the book is FANTASTIC. It’s super thrilling and emotional. I thought YES! I can’t wait to read the rest of this…but I have to get to sleep.

Each chapter is a different time period, ranging from the mid-1800s into the future. The narrators are all female, from two branches of one original family tree. Each story tells a different version of abuse, pain, strength, and a new pregnancy to continue the generation.

In theory, it’s a great book. If I were to read that synopsis, I would immediately go grab this off the shelf. In fact, the jacket cover sounds a lot like that, with a bit more detail–which is why I picked this one from the Blogging for Books review options.

However, the chapters do not go in chronological order. They skip around all over the place. You read a chapter from 1995, then skip to 1847 then 2037 then 1963. (Something like that…Not exactly that.) Even the chapters that are close together, like 1995 and 1991 may not have the same characters/situations, so it is all just extremely confusing. I kept waiting to go back to the original story from the first section, and it just never did. I just kept getting more and more confused!

I finally get a resolution at the end, but it wasn’t that Feeling. It really wasn’t much of anything, really. Very anticlimactic. It even tried to be apocalyptic/dystopian, in a book that really didn’t need to be. I dunno, this one just didn’t do it for me at all, and that is so disappointing because it started off SO strong. Usually if a book is bad, it’s bad from the beginning. The first section was a “make me stay up all night” read. The rest…nothing.

 

Blogging for Books provided this book for an unbiased review.